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Barnes feels for Blackburn's Bentley

Liverpool and Newcastle United hero John Barnes feels for Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Bentley after he was booed on Saturday by England fans.

Barnes was brutalised by England's supporters and he still carries the scars from an era when he was singled out for special criticism.

He said: "As much as we say we appreciate that supporters pay their money, if I was a supporter I would be asking, 'What am I gaining by doing this?' or 'Am I helping the team?'.

"They have the right to voice their opinion, but what satisfaction do they get out of it? I want my team to win, but is this the right way to help them do it? People have their favourites and although I don't see any reason why Phil Neville gets criticised, it always happens.

"It doesn't help the team and it doesn't create a favourable atmosphere, but it happens. In respect of Bentley, it is a black and white situation."

Barnes claims he was victimised after the media questioned his commitment to the team because he was born in Jamaica and he is still haunted by the jeers that accompanied his every touch during the 6-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley in 1993.

England had only secured a two-goal margin against the tiny principality by half-time and that was all the ammunition that supporters inside the old stadium needed to begin another tirade against Barnes.

He added: "It was at its worst when we played San Marino. The fans were beginning to get frustrated and they just started taking it out on me, but there was nothing new in that.

"I didn't want to crawl under a stone or anything like that. I would just deal with it as well as I could and that meant playing well. There is no standard way of dealing with these situations, but I certainly sympathise with anyone who gets abused.

"With me, the press highlighted that I was not born in England and I think that was used as a stick to beat me with. Apparently, because I was born in Jamaica I wasn't as committed as the rest of the players. It used to amaze me but that's football and people are entitled to their opinions."

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Tribal Football Staff

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